THE visitors from the Forest Of Dean travelled back home with far more to be satisfied with than the disappointing Drovers, writes Huw S Thomas.
After trailing 21-0, the National Two side came storming back through the strength of a well organised pack to reach 26-26 and were only denied at the death by some desperate home defence. The pace of the home backs looked to be taking the Drovers clear early on but the Cinderford forwards were dominant at the set piece and carried the ball harder than their opposite numbers to expose the home side’s limitations up front.
On the evidence of this game the Llandovery forwards have much to do to be able to hold their own in the coming Premiership season.
The line out was again poor and the scrum fragile and were it not for some sterling defence late on, the Drovers would have lost.
Coach Euros Evans was frank enough to admit that the forwards will have to produce much more against RGC in the Premiership game at Church Bank this Saturday.
“We were not over impressive up front and there is much to work on but we faced the best Cinderford side we have seen since we have been playing them over the years.”
“We gave a dozen players game time in the second half – some shone, others were exposed – but we will have a new front row and skipper Richard Brooks will return to lead the side from no 8 against RGC.”
Llandovery started off with a bang with former Swansea centre Ryan Evans crossing following good approach work from former Quins wing Lee Williams.
A minute later wing Aaron Warren ran powerfully up the touchline before sending supporting scrum half and skipper Lee Rees skipping in under the posts. With two conversions from fly half Jack Maynard, the Drovers were 14-0 up inside four minutes and looking confident in all they did.
Cinderford gradually regained their composure with half backs Jimmy Williams and Liam Hemming putting width into possession but home tackling was resolute,
The pace of the home backs was causing the English defence a lot of problems but two lost line outs in prime position did the Llandovery cause little good.
A sudden break out against the run of play – led by Williams and supported by Rees – created a try for following up lock Joe Powell, Maynard converting well. The visitors got on the scoreboard just before the break with hooker Nathan Taylor burrowing through from a line out and full back Carwyn Penny converting.
Confidence restored, Cinderford got a second try and conversion from Gloucester Academy’s Penny after a kick and chase by centre Jack Hayes.
With both teams using substitutions, Llandovey got their fourth try after a run from Rees and swift link passing along the line put flanker Stuart Worrall in at the corner. A try from replacement flanker Aaron Ryan – son of former England flanker Dean Ryan – brought the gritty Forest of Dean side back to 26-19 and another by replacement hooker Jack Williams from an unstoppable line out drive plus a Penny conversion tied the scores with 10 minutes left.
Pressure from the increasingly dominant Cinderford pack bode ill for the tiring Drovers who were making a lot of elementary errors but they hung on and the final whistle was more of a relief to the beleaguered home side than the visitors.
¦ Rugby Gogledd Cymru – the Welsh Cup holders – will be the visitors to Church Bank this Sauturday on the opening day of the Principality Premiership season.